Dear Boards of Directors and Chief Executive Officers:
The NCUA and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) encourage credit unions to participate in the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. For more than 50 years, the VITA program has offered free income tax assistance in-person or through assisted, self-help options. Interested credit unions should email the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than November 15, 2021.
The program provides education for consumers on refundable credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). These refundable federal tax credits can provide thousands of dollars to working individuals and families with low to moderate incomes.
Benefits of participating in the VITA program and boosting awareness of refundable tax credits include:
- Potential to attract new members,
- Asset and wealth building opportunities for members,
- Greater financial education and financial stability among members,
- Opportunities to partner with other community-based organizations,
- Increased membership benefit offerings and potential increased membership loyalty,
- Continuing professional education credits for qualified VITA-trained volunteers, and
- Free income tax preparation software or online access for credit unions and their members.
Credit unions can participate in the VITA program in various ways, including the following options:
- Promoting the VITA program and eligibility requirements through social media, member statements, and/or hosting links to the VITA Locator Tool (opens new window), and/or the IRS Free File (opens new window);
- Providing space at a credit union facility along with computers and/or wireless access for members to prepare their own tax return at the credit union or designated location(s); and
- Hosting IRS-certified volunteers onsite at the credit union to assist members.
Generally, VITA sites are open between late January and early April. Therefore, interested credit unions are encouraged to begin early communication with the IRS and other VITA program coordinators for the upcoming the tax season. Credit unions currently participating in the VITA program are encouraged to self-report their efforts on their Profile in CUOnline.
Steps for Credit Unions Interested in Participating:
- Learn More – Visit the IRS Partner and Resource Center (opens new window) or access the Volunteer Site Coordinator Handbook (opens new window).
- Determine Suitability – Review operations and strategic business development plans to determine if, and at what level, IRS VITA program participation is a good fit for your credit union and membership.
- Establish IRS Partner Contact – Email the IRS at email@example.com no later than November 15, 2021, to be connected with a local IRS office.
- Funding – For grant resources and other funding opportunities visit the NCUA and IRS (opens new window) websites.
For further information on participating, email the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. The NCUA’s Office of Consumer Financial Protection is also available to answer questions from credit unions at email@example.com or 703.518.1140.
In addition, the NCUA’s consumer website, MyCreditUnion.gov (opens new window), is available to help credit unions educate their members on various financial education and consumer financial protection issues, including IRS tax programs.
Todd M. Harper